Looking for some information on the Jack Bean, or Canavalia Ensiformis?  Let’s unravel the mystery surrounding this magic message bean.Canavalia Ensiformis Jack Bean

Botanical Name

The Jack Bean’s botanical name is Canavalia Ensiformis.  It is commonly referred to as a magic bean or magic message bean also.

Where is the Jack Bean grown?

Whilst they are native to the West Indies, they are now commonly grown in many tropical areas specifically for their seeds.

Growing Conditions

Magic beans love the sun and warm conditions.  They are also happy in moderate shade and as a garden plant, it can easily grow to over 2 metres tall, provided it receives enough nutrients, water and sunshine.

It is a climbing bean vine which produces 8-20cm long leaves and is quite bushy.  Its strong root system helps it to develop with gorgeous flowers that are typically mauve, however can be pink.

The bean pods that are produced can be up to 36cm long.  They contain 1-2cm long beans which we call magic beans.  You may be lucky to harvest as many as 12 beans per pod.

Can I eat a Jack Bean?

The young, immature pods and seeds can cooked and consumed as a vegetable, whilst the whole plant is also used for animal food. Those who love this bean claim you can just boil them or fry in a little butter just like you would any other bean.  Don’t eat the pods though as they can be quite stringy.

Once fully ripe, the beans are too hard and too old and are not fit to be consumed. Like the pinto bean, this is one bean that must not be consumed raw.  It must be cooked.

In many Asian countries, the young flowers and leaves are steamed and used as flavourings in many foods.  You’ll also find that the beans are used in Chinese Medicine.

This clever bean is not only functional but can be engraved with words and images and therefore becomes a talking plant, a unique gift and a very ingenious promotional product.


Want to know more?  Feel free to browse our store to see the range of engraved magic beans we have on offer.  Contact us to ask any specific questions you have or why not even apply to be a stockist of these amazing products and WOW your own customers!